Company: Speck Products
Model: See-Thru Sexy Hard Case
Price: $30 (3-pack)
Compatible: iPod 5G (with video)
Speck See-Thru Sexy Hard Cases for 5G iPods
Pros: A set of three see-through hard plastic cases for the fifth-generation iPod, in two versions properly sized to fit either 30GB or 60GB iPods. Each set offers clear, gray, and red color options at a reasonable total price.
Cons: Each case is simple, lacking a belt clip and protective coverage for several of the iPod’s parts. For the same price, you could pick a single case that’s more protective or stylish.
Having developed individual clear hard plastic Flipstand cases for earlier iPods, Speck is now selling sets of three differently colored translucent cases per package in two different sizes (30GB / 60GB). Lacking other frills, they’re simple in execution and affordable as a set, letting you show off and protect the majority of your iPod’s sexy body. But two of the shells also offset the color of your iPod’s screen, which won’t be as sexy for fans of video playback.
See-Thru rates highly on build quality, with proper alignment of all of its holes, properly finished front and rear shells, and generally good resilience. While the clear plastic shows surface scratches after routine use - a small detracting factor - this is a common issue with cases of this type. Each set of two halves uses clips to lock together firmly enough to require intentional opening force.
Not surprisingly, See-Thru also scores well in ease of use; the case makes screen and Click Wheel access very easy, and also provides full-time access to the iPod’s Dock Connector port, headphone port, and Hold switch - all at the cost of protectiveness. It loses a point only because of the sizing of its headphone port hole - too small for oversized headphone plugs, but fine for Apple’s earbuds and similarly sized connectors.
While See-Thru isn’t an innovative case per se, it’s innovatively packaged: Speck sells three See-Thrus together for the same overall price you might pay for a single competing case - a nice feature if you want to change case colors, or just find a see-through case option that’s not as vanilla (clear) colored as other offerings. It’s worth noting, though, that the red case does visibly change the color of your iPod’s screen, and the gray case creates a slight darkening tint, like car glass - fully clear screens would have been a better idea. Additionally, there’s no belt clip, a common feature of competing clear cases, and the cases themselves are very ordinary.
Rarely does a company slide backwards from highly protective cases into less protective ones, but that’s what’s happened with Speck since the smart FlipStand design has disappeared. The lack of Click Wheel, Dock Connector, and Hold switch coverage detracts from this score, but the strength of the clear hard plastic is reasonable.
Rating the See-Thru three-pack on value is tricky because of the overall value proposition here: get three low-frills cases for about the same price as one more protective and aggressively designed option. Some people will like this approach, while those looking for belt clip attachments or a more sophisticated design (such as those found in Contour Design’s Showcases) will be left wanting. We think that these cases, while simple, are good enough to represent a pretty good value overall.
Overall, the See-Thru three-pack is a recommendable case option for 30GB or 60GB iPod owners. We’re happy to see that Speck created different-sized versions of this case so as to avoid the sizing and alignment problems that have reduced the appeal of earlier, one-size-fits-all cases.
A Note From the Editors of iLounge: Though all products and services reviewed by iLounge are "final," many companies now make changes to their offerings after publication of our reviews, which may or may not be reflected above. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.